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Bring Food Home

Registration is now open! Bring Food Home is an inspiring three day conference of compelling speakers, engaging panels, hands-on workshops and action-planning sessions.

We are so excited that this year's conference will be featuring a full stream of children- and youth-focused presentations and workshops. We have started to highlight some of these sessions on Twitter (#BringFoodHome)! You can view the full program here

Early bird registration ends October 18th!

Ontario Farm to School Challenge

The third round of the Ontario Farm to School Challenge just started October 1st and will run until the end of the month - it's not too late to get involved!

For the month, educators can share how they have incorporated local food into their school food program by simply posting to the Facebook page, tweeting @ONFarm2School, or sending in an email.

To prepare for the October round, program leaders came together for a great webinar on September 24th to share their own farm to school stories. If you missed out on the webinar, not to worry: you can read more about the challenge and view the recorded webinar here.

Additionally, there will be a second webinar on Tuesday, October 15, at 3:30 p.m. EDT, titled “October’s Ontario Farm to School Challenge: opening the floor to your experiences with barriers and solutions.” Click here for more information on this webinar and to register.

Useful Resources

Spark Advocacy Grant

The Heart and Stroke Foundation is now accepting applications for their Spark Advocacy Grants. These Grants are intended to provide financial support for advocacy initiatives that focus on increasing access to physical activity and/or healthy food for children.

The application deadline is November 1, 2013.

Visit their website for more information and to apply.

Conference Board of Canada Recommends National School Nutrition Program to Combat Student Hunger

A recent report from the Conference Board of Canada, “Enough for All: Household Food Security in Canada”, provides an analysis of food insecurity in Canada. School-aged children are a major focus of the report.  

The report recommends the implementation of “a pan-Canadian program that provides or manages funding for breakfasts or lunches and/or snacks in each school or school board.”

See Sustain Ontario's full blog post here.

Learn more about why FoodShare Toronto welcomes the Conference Board of Canada’s call to action for a national school meal program, and how Food Secure Canada is applauding this effort and inviting everyone to join in and push this critical issue forward.

Policy News

Local Food Fund

The Government of Ontario has announced that it is welcoming applications for a new Local Food Fund, a $30 million investment over 3 years to create jobs and support innovative local food projects.

The application and guidelines are available here.

The Local Food Fund will support projects in the following four categories:

  • Regional and Local Food Networks
  • Enhanced Technologies, Capacity and/or Minor Capital
  • Research and Best Practices
  • Education, Marketing and Outreach

With the wide scope of projects the Fund intends to support, it could result in assisting work related to the Ontario Edible Education Network.

For instance, this article explains that the Fund's broad range means the money could support anything from infrastructure and software projects to public events, such as educational initiatives. And as this article explains, there is also a focus on supporting supply chains and the supply of local food - ie. farm to school programs.


More Support for Student Nutrition Programs and Local Food Procurement in Schools

We are thrilled to hear that the Government of Ontario has just announced it will invest an additional $3 million in Ontario's Student Nutrition Programs as part of the Healthy Kids Strategy. This will create more than 200 new breakfast programs for about 33,000 kids in higher-need communities, including First Nations communities.

The funding will also allow for the hiring of 14 food distribution and logistics co-ordinators across Ontario.

Read more from the official news release.


Ontario's Education Strategy Consultation

The Ministry of Education is currently consulting with the public on the next phase in Ontario’s Education Strategy. Formal consultations are being conducted throughout the province this month and will include members of the education, early learning and municipal sectors, as well as others.

Individuals can submit their feedback and ideas via an online submission form. A community consultation kit is also available if you would like to start a conversation in your community.

The consultation period will continue until November 15, 2013.

This is a great opportunity to advocate for basic food literacy for all Ontarians. To read more on the consultation, visit Sustain Ontario's blog here.

Inspiration from Outside of Ontario

School cafeterias cooking with local food, New Brunswick

8,000 students are eating healthy local food every day at school thanks to an inspiring program in New Brunswick that partners farmers with schools.

The partnership also allows students to learn about farming, where food comes from, and see how it is prepared.

Read more from Trudy Kelly Forsythe on this great partnership, or learn about it in this CBC story.

We are happy to see that the article also highlights Ontario's impressive Halton Food for Thought.


England Makes Cooking Compulsory 

The English Department for Education (UK) has made it compulsory that cooking lessons be a part of the national curriculum for students up to grade 9 starting next year.

The plan evidently demonstrates an understanding of the importance of children's food literacy - an understanding we hope continues to grow.

Read more on this exciting effort here.